19 August, 2004

Rocking the Casbah

In Venezuela now....I apologize for the lapse in posting to the blog but I havent been near a computer in forever. Traveling can do that...so can seeing your boyfriend after six weeks, and well, when thats the case a blog just isnt that important. But on to more interesting things, namely el Loco Chavez and his Bolivarian devolution. The referendum was this past Sunday, the same day I arrived in this beautiful but conflicted country. Apparently, the lines were very long: A's aunt Jasmine waited some eight hours...news reports said this was the average wait- some people were there even longer. The next day, you could tell who voted by the purple stains on their pinkies....

The end result of the whole thing, though, is Chavez is still president. The violence that we have been bracing for has barely begun. On Monday, when A and I went to the bus station to go home, there were a lot of opposition members milling about- apparently not ten minutes before we got there a Chavista had come up to someone, pulled out a gun and a quemaropa, (literally burned clothes, but basically at close range) shot someone. So by the time we got there, unaware of what had happened, everyone was in high tension. Suddenly everyone began running cause they thought that they had found one of the men who had done it, and there was shouting and screaming and police everywhere...A and I decided to hightail it out of there asap. Thankfully, nothing more happened and still nothing has happened yet, although it feels like the calm before the storm.

But there has been a lot of calls of fraud floating around, and the more we find out the more we believe that the results have been manipulated. The evidence is too numerable to be able to sum up here but if anyone wants to read all about it can check it out here at Caracas Chronicles. The guy has everything...from the dubious actions of the CNE, the electoral body, to the strang poll results that contradict the election results. Money quote:

It would take a miracle of public relations management for the opposition
to win the international public opinion battle around the referendum. As far as
99% of foreigners are concerned, what Carter says, goes. The opposition has
never demonstrated any particular gift for public relations abroad - quite the
opposite - so one thing is clear: Five years of efforts by the opposition to
explain to the world just how brutally nasty, deceitful and dangerous Hugo
Chavez is were comprehensively undone on Monday. This is a battle we will not

Will be reporting more as everything develops, and whenever I happen to be near an internet connection...which isnt often. But for everyone worried, I am safe!


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